The less-deserving pro-independence website

Wings Over Scotland

The Tory who voted Yes 211

Posted on August 08, 2015 by

“In an independent Scotland, we’ll never have to worry about Tory governments again”, said the man on my doorstep, his YES badge gleaming in the sunshine.

“I am a Tory,” said I, watching with some amusement as the man’s jaw dropped.


“But I’ll still be voting Yes,” I added.

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Making lemonade 93

Posted on July 06, 2015 by

I started lurking on in the run up to the referendum and enjoyed reading the “robust” debates. A couple of months after the vote I got more actively involved and was immediately puzzled as to why many PBers, commentators, party strategists and – particularly – supposedly infallible bookmakers were all struggling to accept the accuracy of the Scottish opinion polls.


At this point the polls were already indicating that Scottish Labour was going to lose many of its 41 seats and could end up with fewer than five. I started commenting that from where I sitting in Stirling the opinion polls were accurate, the SNP surge was real and indeed that it had not yet peaked.

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The macaroni marriage 117

Posted on July 04, 2015 by

As the petition to save them is dismissed as a “social media experiment” and as Greggs announces it will persist in removing the macaroni pie from its line, I find that my hackles have reached hitherto unrealised heights.

Just who do these people – quislings and traitors to the cause of quality baked goods – think they are? Even the wonderful Nicola (may her name be praised) has expressed ambivalence as to their merits, preferring not to partake at a personal level.

I am no stranger to feelings of righteous indignation, but why does this issue drive me to print in a way that the recent rebuffs to Holyrood’s permanence and full fiscal autonomy did not? Allow me to explain.

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Soapbox: On A Boat 70

Posted on June 28, 2015 by

I was on my way to work in London the other morning when I heard someone talking on his mobile phone. He was a white English man in his thirties, wearing builder’s gear, presumably on his way to work too. We were heading in the same direction, so I listened to his end of the conversation as we walked along.

He was in mid-rant when I first clocked him, complaining about drug addicts and alcoholics living on benefits, while he had to get up and go to work. “I’m on my way to work too,” I thought, and the only thing that bothers me about the thought of drug addicts and alcoholics lying around at home or still asleep on the streets is the utter waste of human lives it involves.


But of course, I was on my way to a job I love, and even though I would happily write comedy whether or not I was paid for it, I’m guessing that my job probably pays a lot more than his does. And from the tone of his voice, I don’t think he was looking forward to his day’s work nearly as much as I was looking forward to mine.

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A time to choose 76

Posted on September 09, 2014 by

Between this, and this.

Once in a blue your dreams come true 317

Posted on August 30, 2014 by

Last week I was working in the tattoo studio and got chatting to a client on whom my colleague was completing a large, Japanese-style sleeve on his upper arm and chest. He was sitting upright in his chair, stripped to the waist, his new ink glowing.

We got talking about the referendum. Unusually, this guy was a No voter. I say ‘unusually’ because the vast majority of our clients in the studio are vocally keen Yes types. Perhaps there’s something in the inked person’s character – a bohemian or experimental quality that naturally favours thoughts of change or progression.


This guy was a very nice, friendly, middle-aged small business owner from North Lanarkshire. As a Yes voter, I try not to get too preachy on the subject in the studio simply because it wouldn’t be professional – I wouldn’t want to get into any kind of heated debate with someone I have to tattoo for hours on end.

Still, I lightly prodded him on some of the independence issues. I was curious to hear his perspective as I rarely encounter it in someone face to face.

“Bad for business”, he mumbled in an offhand way. “I just don’t like the sound of it”

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The story of a soldier boy 101

Posted on August 23, 2014 by

“Soldier boy” was an affectionate nickname given to me by my father before he passed away. It was both said with pride and his way of calling me a dunderheid.


Dad was an intelligent, cerebral, well-read man, anti-war and pro-independence. He tried to convince me in a variety of ways not to “sign your life away”, including leaving a collection of DVDs for me like “Beneath Hill 60”, “Cross Of Iron” and “My Boy Jack”, as well as many war poems. He also highlighted my distaste for authority. But he failed to stop me. I signed up.

Scottish independence was a different story.

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What does it mean to be Scottish? 196

Posted on August 03, 2014 by

The above is a deceptively simple question and one to which the answer, of course, is as varied as the people you might ask it of as we approach September’s vote.

The debate so far would suggest that at one end of the scale, we’re a nation of poor wee souls, much safer shackled to a United Kingdom that gifts us stability and security in the face of choppy global waters and saves us from the hassle of making crucial political decisions for ourselves. At the other end, we’re a proud nation of untold prosperity, a nirvana of wealth and social justice primed to emerge after our divorce from our oppressors in Westminster.

For anyone in between and still grappling with their identity, the Economist helpfully informed us recently that being Scottish means painting a Saltire on your face, wearing a Jimmy hat and shouting at nothing in particular. Glad that’s sorted then.

The truth is that very few of us will see ourselves in these broad-brushed caricatures of Scottish identity. I certainly don’t. In fact, the more I force myself to think about it, the clearer it becomes that I don’t have a bloody clue what it means to be Scottish.

Or at least I didn’t until last month.

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A different parallel 143

Posted on July 09, 2014 by

Last month we carried a view of the Scottish independence debate from the Canadian province of Quebec. Today we hear from the English-speaking side of the country.

In English-speaking Canada, few people seem to be aware of Scotland’s independence referendum. It doesn’t register much in the papers, much less our cheerfully oblivious TV news. The couple of friends I’ve told about it were interested, but mainly viewed the event as they would the World Cup: a distant, if intriguing, foreign phenomenon.

Conversely, Scotland’s view of Canada has been quite the opposite. Commentators on both the Yes and No sides have drawn explicit parallels with the Canadian experience, especially Quebec’s fraught history of referenda and sovereignty debate.


As a Canadian-American who’s spent a good deal of time south of the border, however, I think there’s a much more apt comparison to be made.

Canada’s bizarre love-hate relationship with our dysfunctional, arrogant, yet somehow still likeable neighbours and friends in the United States of America is both cautionary and optimistic. And it indicates the absolute need for a Yes vote.

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Crossing the floor 171

Posted on June 27, 2014 by

Until relatively recently I was very firmly of the mind that Scotland shouldn’t be independent. Born in England to English parents but growing up in Scotland since I was a baby, I was English to the Scottish and Scottish to the English. I’ve always considered myself British and still do. Not in a nationalistic way, just a matter of fact.


In 2008 while in my second year at university I started an anti-independence Facebook group as a misguided joke, calling it ‘I Hate Alex Salmond’. I actually didn’t hate Alex Salmond, I’ve actually always thought he was a good politician, I just didn’t agree with some of what he stood for (and of course, one thing in particular).

So following a bit of negative press and some pressure from the university, I decided to change the name of the group to ‘No to Scottish Independence’. And then, gradually, some other things started to change too.

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The Scotland of the South 91

Posted on June 25, 2014 by

In 2009, nearing the end of my Masters degree in Scotland and with the UK recession in full swing, I decided to leave for New Zealand. I’ll admit that the decision was somewhat influenced by a breathtaking TV ad. Sweeping helicopter shots of stunning mountain ranges, photogenic youngsters frolicking on sunny beaches, and a thumping soundtrack. I still can’t listen to “Forever Young” without goosebumps.


New Zealand is a country slightly larger than Great Britain with a population smaller than Scotland. Famed for its beautiful scenery, laid-back lifestyle and sporting achievements, this small and successful country where I still live, tucked away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, provides an ideal argument for an independent Scotland.

Why? I’ll explain.

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A letter from Quebec 227

Posted on June 23, 2014 by

As a French Quebecer belonging to a generation that was deeply influenced by Harry Potter, it was with great interest and concern that I read JK Rowling’s recent letter on why she opposes Scotland’s independence.


Of herself and her fellow Scots, she justly writes that “whatever Scotland decides, we will probably find ourselves justifying our choice to our grandchildren.”

Well, I’m one of those grandchildren previous generations now find themselves having to justify their decisions to, and I can tell you how it went for us.

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